Learning Set for a Fun Ride; Apple iBooks 2 Can be an Interactive Experience

January 21, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Listen up, folks. The future of textbooks is going to be, well, different – to say the least. With Apple coming up with attempts to reinvent the traditional textbooks with tools like the iBooks Author, education with interaction and engagement might just work digitally.

Apple’s iBooks Author can be used to create and publish textbooks, complete with rich media features. This is aimed at making the process of education a whole lot easier for school teachers, school districts, homeschooling parents, publishers and students themselves.

Apple has now introduced another app – the iBooks 2. The app in turn, brings in a category on the iBookstore for textbooks with material from the big publishers like McGraw-Hill and Pearson, plus all those who want to publish their textbooks.

It is pretty easy to work on for one thing, with building a presentation in Keynote, and a click-and-drag method of building a textbook.

But hey, it is not a plain old boring textbook. There is text, but you can drag in image galleries, embed videos, 3D models, presentations and slideshows.

You can touch and swipe and watch instead of just reading and taking notes.  How cool is that.

And, the students can do more than just read and read a physical textbook; they can also touch to highlight, look up information, search, take notes in the margins and compile instant flashcards for studying.

What Apple has come up with is more like an assisting tool to make learning more interactive, rather than inventing a whole new way to study. Meaning there are already some players in the space.

Kno is one of the largest providers of textbooks for the iPad. Chegg just introduced a really nice e-book reader for a variety of platforms, and Inkling has been making interactive textbooks and cookbooks.

Apple has just brought all this to the next level, with authoring tool and a distribution platform.

Matt MacInnis, CEO of Inkling, says they use the term smartbooks for the digital textbooks because they are interactive and well, smarter.

Though there are questions like how many school districts can afford that many number of iPads or how the textbook publishing industry at large will react, it is pretty sure that the traditional books is going to have to go away.

Learning will be fun in the near future.

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